A beginners guide to buying a mountain bike

A Beginners Guide To Buying a Mountain Bike

Thinking about Buying a Mountain Bike this Dashain? With all the different types of bikes and gear on the market it can be confusing for new buyers. We hope we can give you some insight on what might be the best bike and set up for you.

Full Suspension Verses Hardtail

By definition, a Hard tail is a mountain bike with only a front fork suspension. These bikes vary in quality from basic city bikes to high end racing machines with a price range from 40,000nrs up to 500,000nrs.

A full Suspension bike is a mountain bike with both front and rear suspension.  This makes the bike smoother over rougher surfaces. But lower end full suspension bikes can be somewhat heavier than a hard tail. Full Suspension Bikes price varies from 130,000nrs to 700,000nrs.

Suspension comes in different travel length (The amount the suspension moves or bounces up and down) varies depending on the design or purpose of the bike. Here are some examples of that:-

100mm to 130mm- Cross country style riding. Fast climbing. Good for causal riding to racing XC.

140mm- 160mm- All Mountain / Enduro.  Not so fast to go up hill but lots of travel to come down rocky, steep trails with drops and small jumps

180mm and Above – Downhill. Purposely built for downhill only, not possible to ride uphill. Suitable for bigger jumps, drops and rugged terrain.

Generally speaking a full suspension bike will cost you more than a hard tail.

The Wheel Size

Mountain Bikes  come in three wheel sizes – 26inch, 27.5 inch (Aslo called 650B) and 29 inch (29er). Now days, in Nepal most bikes have a 27.5 wheel size, but all three are avaiable.

26 inch Wheels –

26″ Advantages
• Tend to weigh less than 27.5″ & 29er bikes, as their smaller wheels and forks save weight
• Smaller wheels are often better for technical terrain that requires fast reaction time, such as quick twitchy trails
• Fits all size riders very well; whereas larger bikes such as 29ers are often difficult for smaller riders to fit onto
• Quick off the line acceleration
• Increased lateral strength for riders who require high travel DH / FR bikes
26″ Disadvantages
• Less forgiving while going over bumps, roots, rocks, ect….
• Slower top end speed than bikes with larger wheels
• Small wheels require added suspension to soak up terrain.  This can lead to decreased efficiency in the suspension by adding pedal bob to the bike.
• Smaller tire footprint than bikes with larger wheels often means less traction
• Requires a higher tire pressure than larger wheels

 27.5 Inch Wheels

27.5″ Advantages
• Provides a higher top speed than 26″ bikes while having faster quick reaction times than 29er bikes.  This is the main advantage of a 27.5″ bike, as it’s goal is to utilize the advantages of both 26″ & 29er bikes
• More forgiving than 26″ bikes
• Larger wheels mean less suspension needed, which increases overall bike efficiency
• Higher top speed when compared to 26″ bikes
• Good off the line acceleration than 29ers
• Better traction than a 26″ bike
• Good alternative for small riders who want a larger wheel bike, but don’t fit comfortably onto a 29er
27.5″ Disadvantages
• While more forgiving than 26″ bikes, these bikes are still less forgiving than 29er’s
• Slower top speed when compared to 29ers, even though they’re faster than 26″ bikes.
• Slower off the line acceleration when compared to 26″ bikes
• While having better traction than a 26″ bike, 29er’s still have better overall traction because of their large wheel size

29 Inch Wheels

29er Advantages
• Faster top end speed
• Larger wheels are much more forgiving than smaller wheels when going over roots, rocks, ect….  because of the difference in wheel sizes
• Larger wheels mean you need less suspension travel to soak up terrain, which generally leads to less pedal bob and increased efficiency.
• Great for taller riders
• Larger tire footprint on the ground at all times means increased traction, which is great for climbing & descending
• Because of increased traction, the ability to confidently ride over more aggressive terrain without avoiding obstacles which you might with a 26″ bike and overall increased bicycle stability, the 29er will make you a much more confident rider
29er Disadvantages
• The larger wheels make these bikes slower to react quickly to fast twitchy trails; however where you may have simply avoided obstacles in the past on your 26″ bike, you may simply find yourself rolling right over them with the larger 29er wheels
• Generally harder for smaller riders to fit onto
• Larger wheels, fork and frame tend to add a slight amount of weight to the overall build
• More time to accelerate
• Generally not suited for DH / FR riders

The Drive Train

This is the part of the bike that makes it move, gear shifters, chain, cassette, crank, derailleurs. These parts come in many different qualities which effect the price and performance of the bike. Obviously the more expensive it is the better it works and the lighter it will be.

Now days bikes come in different speed variances as below:- (front x rear)

3 x 8 – Basic gear sets on low end bikes
3 x 9 – Found on entry level bikes
3 x 10 – Found on medium level bikes
2 x 10 – Found on medium level bikes
1 x 10 – Found on high end bikes
1 x 11 – Found on high end and performance bikes
1 x 12 – The latest technology normally found on high end bikes.

When it comes to gears/speeds, is more better?

Generally speaking one would think 30 gears would be more efficient than 20 or 11. But now days, cogs or cassettes come in varying teeth sizes which means you can can the same range of gear levels and climbing abilities on a 1 x 11 bike as you could on a 3 x 10 bike. What happens is the weight of the bike is reduced, the maintenance becomes easier as you have less moving parts and you will have a smoother shifting performance. What you do sacrifices is the bigger gear rings that give you higher flat speed as you would need on a road bike.

While 1 x 11 or 1 x 12 is the ultimate choice for a mountain bike, those gear sets generally come on more expensive higher range bikes. If you are looking for entry level, look for something like 2 x 10 rather than 3 x 9 or 8 speed bikes.

A Last Word

Overall, when you go into a bike shop you should have an idea of the kind of riding you want to do, be it city ride, causal weekend romps into the country side, racing or full on downhill and have an idea of the budget you want to spend.

As a general rule you should buy the best quality bike you can afford as in the long run it will cost you less to maintain and it will perform better.

Good Luck.


Giant Trance 3 Was 185,000 – Get 11% Discount

  • AGiant Trance 3 LUXX SL-grade aluminum frame with 140mm of smooth Maestro suspension clearance for 2.6 tires
  • RockShox Sektor Silver TK Solo Air 140mm-travel fork with Boost 15x110mm thru-axle
  • RockShox Deluxe RT rear shock
  • Giant XC-1 rims, Giant Performance Tracker hubs, Sapim Race spokes
  • Shimano Deore 2×10-speed shifting with Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes

Giant Talon 1 Was 73,000 – Get 115 Discount

  • ALUXX-grade Aluminium frame
  • Giant Talon 1SR Suntour Epixon Air 100mm fork with lockout
  • Shimano Deore 2×10 speed shifting with FSA Comet 24/36 crankset
  • Shimano M315 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant GX03 27.5 wheelset with double-wall rims
  • Color: black/red, green/blue

Check out more bikes here

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